Tennessee suspect's family sees depression, shame behind rampage

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Life Details of Tennessee Shooter Emerge

Members of Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez's family believe deep depression and shame over an drunken driving charge may have led him to go on a rampage in which five U.S. servicemen died last week, a source close to the family said on Tuesday.

In seeking to understand what motivated last Thursday's fatal shooting in Tennessee, relatives of the 24-year-old engineer have pointed to what they say was a tragic combination of factors, according to the source.

Substance abuse combined with long-standing psychological issues appears to have stirred up intense religious guilt, driving Abdulazeez to find forgiveness in a violent outburst, they believe.

Memorials and tributes for the Tennessee shooting victims:

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Chattanooga, Tennessee Shooting memorials, tributes
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Tennessee suspect's family sees depression, shame behind rampage
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Keari Anderson walks through the memorial near the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. . The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 18: Ronald May prays as he supports a cross at a memorial setup in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there and a Navy sailor. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Ron Fahy and Misty Fahy hold a sign that reads,' American Lives Matter', as they attend a prayer service near the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. . The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Vehicles flying American flags are seen as they arrive near the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Jared Eldridge (L) and Zach Henderson fly American flags over highway 153 as they show their support for their country after four U.S. Marines and a Navy sailor were killed on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: John Kennon (L) and Lilla Kennon attend the East Ridge United Methodist Church for a prayer service to honor the four Marines and one Navy sailor killed during a shooting on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Lilla Kennon wipes away tears as she attends the East Ridge United Methodist Church for a prayer service to honor the four Marines and one Navy sailor killed during a shooting on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Teresa Jennings (L) and Miranda Jennings hold candles as they attend the East Ridge United Methodist Church for a prayer service to honor the four Marines and one Navy sailor killed during a shooting on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Members of the Highways and Hedges Ministry prepare to setup a wooden cross near the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. . The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 18: U.S. Navy sailor Evan Montgomery places American flags in a memorial setup in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 18: Christina Reed (L), Aaron Workman and Julia Morrison (R) pay their respects at a memorial setup at the entrance to the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center where four United States Marines and a Navy sailor were killed on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 18: Joan Jones holds Isaiah Watson ,2, as they pay their respect at a memorial setup at the entrance to the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center where four United States Marines and a Navy sailor were killed on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 18: A sign is seen among the memorial setup in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there, more than seven miles away, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Flowers and a sign are seen in the memorial near the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. . The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Toy soldiers are seen in the memorial setup near the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. . The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Melissa Gallagher prays with her children as they pay their respects to those killed while visiting a memorial placed in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there, more than seven miles away, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Johnny Stapp whose son just entered the Marine Corps. places flags in the memorial in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there, more than seven miles away, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Eli Arnold places an American flag in the memorial in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there, more than seven miles away, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Alicia Nerren (R) prays with her children as they pay their respects to those killed while visiting a memorial placed in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there, more than seven miles away, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Laurie Norman is overcome with emotion as she pays her respects to those killed while visiting a memorial placed in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there, more than seven miles away, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Blake Miller and his mother, Ashley Miller whose husband is a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps pay their respects to those killed while visiting a memorial placed in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy more than seven miles away and killed four United States Marines there. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Miller-Motte Technical College students and others join in prayer across the highway from the strip mall where a gunman attacked the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy more than seven miles away and killed four United States Marines there. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Two days before the Chattanooga attack, Abdulazeez told his family he was going to work, the source said, but they learned from his friends that he instead took a marijuana and alcohol-fueled "joy ride" in a rented car.

The trigger for his "bender" was the worsening of depression that had dogged him for years, the family believes. He was also "very ashamed" about the drunken driving arrest in April and an impending court appearance, the family source said, and may have had difficulty reconciling his drinking and marijuana use with his Muslim faith.

The shooting follows a series of "lone wolf" attacks, or thwarted attacks, in the United States and other countries by Muslims claiming to be inspired by Islamic State, known as ISIL, or other militant groups.

"We don't yet know all of the details behind the attack in Chattanooga, but we do know that al Qaeda and ISIL have encouraged attacks on American soil, including against our service members," U.S. President Barack Obama said at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Pittsburgh. "And this threat of lone wolves and small cells is hard to detect and prevent."

Obama ordered all U.S. flags to be flown at half-mast at the White House and other public buildings in honor of the four Marines and a Navy petty officer killed in Chattanooga.

Images of the Tennessee shooting victims:

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Tennessee Shooting victims
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Tennessee suspect's family sees depression, shame behind rampage
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 18: A photograph of the victims is seen among the memorial setup in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there, more than seven miles away, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: An image of slain Navy sailor, Petty Officer Randall Smith, is projected on the wall of the the East Ridge United Methodist Church as they hold a prayer service to honor the four Marines and Navy sailor killed during a shooting on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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"SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE"

Investigators have evidence that Abdulazeez searched for general jihadist propaganda that may have inspired the rampage, a source close to the investigation said on Monday, although no direct link has so far been found between the suspect and any militant group such as Islamic State or al Qaeda.

His family believes Abdulazeez was looking for spiritual guidance on how he might be forgiven for sins, the family source said, and that quest may have contributed to his decision to attack.

But investigators think Abdulazeez's online activities included reading the writings of Anwar al Awlaki, a Yemeni-American militant preacher affiliated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to a government source. Al Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

The family did not know of any direct connection he may have had with jihadist groups or leaders, the source said.

"UNDER LOCK AND KEY"

The family knew Abdulazeez had serious emotional problems, and for that reason sent him on a trip to Jordan between April and November 2014, escorted by his mother, the family representative said. A Kuwaiti-born naturalized U.S. citizen of Palestinian extraction, Abdulazeez stayed there largely "under lock and key," supervised by an unnamed grandfather and uncle, the source said.

On Friday, the day after the shooting, Jordanian security services detained Abdulazeez's uncle, Assad Ibrahim Abdulazeez Haj Ali, and took his mobile telephones and laptop, his lawyer told Reuters on Tuesday.

The lawyer, Abdul Qader al-Khatib, said by telephone from Jordan that authorities have prevented from seeing his client, who was been interrogated since then.

"The man has no political interests nor does he hold any ideology," said the lawyer said, describing the detention as unjust and calling for his client's release.

Abdulazeez visited no other countries in the region during his trip last year. His flight back to the United States made a scheduled stop in Qatar, but Abdulazeez never left the airport, Qatari officials and the family representative said on Tuesday.

Abdulazeez had made other trips to the Middle East earlier for family purposes, the representative said.

The suspect was killed in a gunfight with police after he sprayed gunfire at a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, then drove to a nearby Naval Reserve Center where he shot and killed four Marines. Three people were wounded, including a sailor who died on Saturday.

Thousands of mourners are expected in Marietta, Georgia, on Tuesday night at a memorial service for Marine Lance Corporal Squire K. "Skip" Wells, one of the five slain servicemen.

Wells, 21, a reservist and youngest victim of the attack, is the first to be honored individually at a memorial service.

(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Roberta Rampton in Washington, Julia Edwardsin Pittsburgh, Frank McGurty in New York and Suleiman Al-Khalidi in Beirut; Writing by Frank McGurty; Editing by James Dalgleish and Lisa Shumaker)

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